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Yellowheaded cockchafers

No relief from yellowheaded cockchafers in the Northern and Central Tablelands of NSW this season

Yellowheaded cockchafer larva (Source: cesar)


Where have they been reported?

Yellowheaded cockchafers (Sericesthis harti) are causing major damage to pastures in the Tablelands regions of NSW, as they did last year… and the year before that. 

Up to 15-20 yellowheaded cockchafers per spade dig have been uncovered from grass-based pastures around much of New South Wale’s Central and Northern Tablelands, where they have been feeding on roots and causing the death of large patches of pasture. An agronomist from the Northern Tablelands of NSW says that pasture populations of yellowheaded cockchafers in the last two years are the highest he’s ever seen.

Yellowheaded cockchafers in cereals

In the Central West Slopes & Plains district of NSW, yellowheaded cockchafers have also been found in low numbers in wheat paddocks, though apparently not causing any major problems. Yellowheaded cockchafers can be pests of cereals as well as pasture, though there are several factors that will influence population densities of these pests in crops. Paddocks that are most at risk will be untilled or ungrazed, or will be perennial pasture or pasture coming out of wheat. Lighter soil types appear preferable to these pests.

High populations of cockchafers can also attract birds, which compounds the damage by upturning clods of soil or uprooting plants in search of grubs, further destroying the pasture or crop.

For detailed information about this pest, and for advice on preventative management strategies, go to yellowheaded cockchafer within the new PestNote series.


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Sources of field reports of yellowheaded cockchafer

Tim Condon – Consultant, Delta Agribusiness (NSW South West Slopes)

Mick Duncan – Agronomist, Northern Agriculture (NSW Northern Tablelands)

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